Why it’s a good thing that my Dad talks to himself

Back in the day, Dad could dance!

I thumbed through the February issue of SELF magazine earlier today and read this: “Find out if your crew is confidence-boosting and how to connect with pals who buoy you, even on ‘I feel fat’ days.”

An hour later, I took my 95-year-old Dad out for his daily constitutional, a two-block walk that now takes about 40 minutes to complete since he frequently stops to let his moderate chest pain subside.

Every time we start on our walk, he has to confront the steps. He approaches them very cautiously, especially since having a stroke eight years ago.

Out loud he says, “I think I’m gettin’ to be an old man.” Or, “Woo, I feel tottery today.”

After we cross the street and he takes his first rest stop, he says, “C’mon, Henry. You can do better than that.”

But sure enough, his joints eventually loosen up and he gets into a slow but comfortable walking rhythm. Momentum is on his side.

Then he says, “Atta boy, that’s the Henry we know and love.”

Although my Dad usually expresses his dismay at how difficult it is when he begins his walk, he never fails to cheer himself on when he starts to walk more confidently.

SELF suggests readers use alternative scripts to use in response to friends when those friends say things like, “I’d kill to have Gwyneth’s abs.” SELF tells women to stop beating themselves up.

While Dad often begins by commenting on his frailties, he also verbally encourages himself to keep trying, and then compliments himself when he sees improvement.

I doubt that SELF will ask my Dad to submit his workout tips, as they have with Jillian Michaels and other hard bodies. But we could all learn a few things from him!

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Why it’s a good thing that my Dad talks to himself

  1. Deb Vosburgh

    Gosh, Betsy, the moment I saw that picture of you and your dad I was taken back almost 40 years! I love the picture! Ah, how fresh and young we all were then. I continue to honor your commitment to your dad; you will never regret a moment of it. I’m sending you both love, energy, and healing light. Deb

  2. Oh, Betsy. I stumbled upon and how touching this is to read about your Dad. Loved it. Thank you.

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